Thursday, March 8, 2012

How You Spend It

Funny thing about saving time is that you can't. Time cannot be saved for use at a later date; it can only be spent in the moment. Once it's spent, it's gone.

As I considered the first four questions that Sree posted Monday I kept coming back to time. How much of my time do I spend on activities that I really care about, that bring the greatest joy, that leave me feeling most alive, that cause my heart to sing? Some? None? Most? All?

If not all or most, why not? Am I withholding them from myself as some type of motivator? Do I not deserve them? Can I not afford them?

Here are a some of my answers.

When am I the most alive?
I feel most alive when I'm fully engaged in the moment. In particular, there's a realtime component that makes a huge difference, a demand to perform with all I have right now.

I feel alive and present when playing music; however, I feel most alive when improvising or playing a song we've never before played.

I feel alive when cooking, but most alive when creating a meal from whatever we have lying around the kitchen.

I love hiking trails in late fall and early winter, when the chill demands that you keep moving. I enjoy coding, but I love it when I have to bring a new concept to life in software.

What brings me the greatest joy?
My greatest joy is seeing people overcome. I love the expressions of ah hah when the light finally dawns on a daunting problem. I revel in the look of satisfaction when, for the first time, someone does something she had considered impossible. Watching someone loosen his grip and finally let go of the things that have been holding him back brings tears to my eyes.

But there's more... Philosophizing with my bandmates while smoking cigars (inside). Listening to a writer read something she's just composed.

What makes my heart sing?
Iris. Seeing my kids. Playing with my grandkids. Listening to passionate musical performances. Watching an exceptional athlete. Finding a solution from an unlikely source. Breathing crisp, winter air. Hearing the birds chirping on an early morning in spring. Flying up and down the notes of my saxophone. Jamming til the sun comes up.

What do I really care about?
Iris. My kids, my dad and my friends. Being useful to those around me. Doing my best at whatever task I undertake. Being fair. Listening well and being heard. Loving and being loved.

How You Spend It
Looking at my answers, I think I'm doing better than I thought I was. There are specific activities on which I'd like to spend more time. However, overall I'm spending a pretty hefty amount of time on activities that I care about, that leave me feeling alive, that bring me joy and that make my heart sing.

My time budget is in better shape than I thought. Still, I see how I could better spend it. I've been playing music with the bands two nights a week; maybe it's time to play music three nights or four nights a week.

My kids are all married and none lives nearby; perhaps it's time to schedule regular visits.

I spend lots of time writing software, but some of it's become old hat. Might be time to look for new opportunities to do something that might be a real breakthrough.

Yeah, you can't save time; you can only spend it.

How's your spending going? How would you answer the four questions above? How would your partner answer them? (Do you know?) How much of your time are you spending on the things that are important to you, the activities that bring you joy, that make your heart sing, that leave you feeling most alive?

Happy Thursday,
Teflon

1 comment:

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